Our second park of the weekend was Phantasialand, one of the best "theme" parks in the world, and by "theme" I mean the park has spent a lot of money on the detail of the ride rather than on a license and a minimal attempt at associating the ride to that...Pay attention Six Flags.
So the park announced a new coaster Taron, and the theming looked incredible. The ride had received mixed reviews from those that had already gotten to it since it opened a few months ago so it would be interesting to see what we thought.
It was clear that a lot of the people in this park were here to ride this too, and the queue which was kept moving by the excellent operations still took around 2 hours to get through in the morning and was just over an hour at the end of the day.
The new area in the park is called Kugelheim, a Game of Thrones type Nordic town surrounded by impressive looking basalt arrangements.
The track is pretty long at over a kilometer in length and each ride taking around a minute and 40 seconds to get around. With two launches removing the need for a lift hill, almost all of that time is spent twisting and diving on a track that runs close to buildings, tunnel walls and other parts of the track. An incredible design which shows how poor a design like Smiler really is.
As stated earlier the queue was long but kept moving and queue jumping was hardly occurring here.
We decided to have our first run on the front row, we'd queued for a long time and another 20 minutes or so didn't matter. It was the right move, as the ride in the front is incredible with near misses, air time and the launching leaving me giggling insanely...and a ride that renders me to fits of laughter is now my measure of a good ride.
This ride was great.
The theming is incredible too and the park have done so much here just for the look. Some of the windows on the building on the left have become nests to birds. I don't know if that was intentional.
We left Klugelheim to see what else the park had for us. Chiapas was a new boat ride they installed in 2014/5. It was horrendously wet with what felt like half of the water supply residing in the bottom of our boat. Sitting in the back meant all that water came over my legs whenever we went uphill.
Deluge aside the ride is superb with my favourite bit being the raving section in the middle where the 3 people we were riding with started clapping with their hands in the air before we entered it. They had been on this before and had come back for more.
It's probably the best water ride in the world. The final drop is one of the steepest of these things.
Tal hadn't ridden Black Mamba, an inverted coaster that rides slightly better than Nemesis in my opinion. On the downside with most of it tucked away it's not an easy ride to photograph.
Talocan is the best themed Top Spin in the world.
In amongst Taron the designers managed to find some room to house a second coaster called Raik. The location is great as for the little kids who can ride this they will feel they were doing the bigger ride that surrounds it. It was down in the morning which is why we came back in the afternoon for it.
Maus au Chocolat is the park's shooting dark ride themed around mice running loose in a cake shop. It's similar to Toy Story at Disney and the more you shoot the more tired you get. In this you're shooting cream guns at the mice. A fun game, and I'm sure there are hidden secrets I've not yet figured out. The theming is so good they have a real cake shop in this building :)
Near the dark ride is a well-themed fun house which I never knew was here, so a first for us both. A sign of a good theme park is when you miss stuff...
Wurz Town is the indoor section of the park and home to the two Winja's coasters: Fear and Force. With very long queues we only chose one side and got the one with the tilt track reminding us there are closer tilt coasters in the world than the one in China and Taiwan.
We finished our day on Taron this time trying the single rider queue which we think took just as long as the hour long main queue. Something to bear in mind. This time I was near the back and whilst still an amazing ride the front-row experience topped it.
We also spent some time here taking photos of the ride to make up for not having the time to keep queueing for it. Another factor on what I think makes a good coaster is what it offers to the photographer and they've taken that on board here. Those that have read my Silver Dollar City review from the Summer will know that as great as that park is they've made it nigh on impossible to get good photos of their rides. Phantasialand made the same mistake with Black Mamba so it's great that it's not been repeated with this ride.
Some "enthusiasts" had reported disappointment with the ride. I can only say that from my experiences it's an incredible coaster and probably in my top 5. As I get older and more jaded I find I like the sensation of speed and near misses more than forces. It's not a forceful coaster, it doesn't invert but it does make me giggle - that's good enough for me. If I could make one improvement it would be to fill the second launch trench with water to make it look like a river and have some hanging signs from the building to add to the near miss during that section of the track.
and well done to one of the best themed sections in any park, and that includes Disney and Universal. Well done Phantasialand.
We finished our day with crepes filled with too much nutella; they'd had such a successful day they'd run out of other fillings.